Franchising growth is a leading driver of the U.S. post-pandemic recovery, with the industry accounting for nearly 3% of GDP. The resilience and expansion of franchise enterprises depend on growth that is sustainable and profitable. Buchalter’s deep legal bench supports this growth by managing every legal issue franchisor and franchisee encounter, from labor & employment and joint employer liability to succession plans, real estate disputes and more.
Our franchise attorneys’ notable achievements include appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case clarifying joint employer liability and unionization issues. We also have helped clients prevent the filing of countless workplace claims through swift responses to disputes and the establishment of sound and compliant employment practices.
Protecting and Promoting Franchise Success
Clients value our in-depth experience and creativity in navigating the notoriously challenging California markets, especially for emerging brand rollouts. Buchalter advises and represents regional, national and international franchise clients across such industries as:
Buchalter is distinctive in this sector for its cross-practice experience related to franchises in the food, finance, medical and petroleum industries.
Many Buchalter attorneys have managed and owned franchises. Just like our clients, the business bottom-line is never an after-thought but rather the priority underscoring our legal counsel.
More Than Franchise Registration Counsel
Providing full-service counsel to the franchise industry means Buchalter clients gain an economical, one-stop and centralized resource for the many unexpected issues that arise. Our comprehensive services extend far beyond registering a franchise and include:
Skilled business attorneys advise on how to integrate succession plans with trusts and the transfer of wealth to the next generation. We advise on and draft licensing, distribution, vendor and other critical business agreements to protect clients, maximize market opportunities and establish best practices.
And while clients appreciate our ability to prevent the disruption of lawsuits and claims, they count on our strength in litigation and dispute resolution for their toughest challenges.
Buchalter’s track record of successful representation of franchisors and franchisees in litigation covers the full gamut of issues, including partnership disputes, real estate and construction conflicts, franchise disclosure and sales, employee and independent contractor discipline and disputes, franchise terminations, trademark disputes, and bankruptcy.
Representative Franchise Deals and Matters
- Advise on registration and renewal for new franchisors, emerging franchisors, and established franchisors.
- Offer compliance counsel and defend franchisors against claims for violations of the FTC Franchise Rule and state Little FTC statutes.
- Defend against claims of fraud, misrepresentation, and/or failure to disclose related to the sales of franchises.
- Provide compliance advice and defend franchisors against claims with other entities, including other franchisors and former franchisees, in competition related lawsuits.
- Advise on the registration of intellectual property and successfully represent franchisors in trademark infringement claims under the Lanham Act and various state statutes.
- Counsel on real estate transactions and pursue real estate litigation claims, including breach of lease claims against franchisees.
- Provide advice related to the bankruptcy of franchisees and defend the franchisor’s interests in its property through bankruptcy actions.
- Guide franchisors on the termination of franchisees, pursue breach of contract and termination related claims, and defend against claims for wrongful termination or nonrenewal.
- Negotiate contracts with public figures and endorsement deals for franchisors.
- Represent both franchisors and franchisees on joint employer liability in state and federal court and administrative bodies, including the National Labor Relations Board.
- Offer comprehensive labor and employment advice and defend franchisors and franchisees in numerous employment claims. These include discrimination, harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wage and hour, and union organizing claims.
- Advocate for franchisors and franchisees in investigations and claims brought by numerous state and federal agencies, including the NLRB, DFEH, EEOC, and OSHA.
Corporate Representative Matters
- Represented Barry’s Bootcamp in its sale to NorthCastle Partners.
- Represented Club Pilates, the largest franchisor of Pilates studios in the United States, in its investment from TPG Growth, the middle market and growth equity platform of alternative asset firm TPG.
- Represented Discount Tire Centers in its sale to PepBoys.
- Represented Hot 8 Yoga in its investment by BBRC Worldwide
- Represented LePort Educational Institute Inc. in its sale of private and Montessori elementary schools throughout the country to various buyers.
- Represented Roger Dunn Worldwide Golf in its sale to Capital Hill Group.
- DirecTV, LLC et al. v. Marlon Hall: Served as lead counsel on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Coalition of Franchisee Associations, International Franchise Association and Restaurant Law Center in a matter brought before the United States Supreme Court regarding potential joint employer liability. A copy of their Amicus Curiae brief can be found here.
- McDonald’s USA, LLC, a joint employer, et al. and Fast Food Workers Committee, et al.: Successfully defended McDonald’s California franchisees involved in a multi-state action—the “largest case ever adjudicated” by the National Labor Relations Board—where a national labor union alleged that McDonald’s franchisees were engaged in a variety of unlawful labor practices and were all joint employers with McDonald’s USA, LLC. A copy of the National Labor Relations Board’s published decision related to the resolution of this case can be found here.